BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - With in-person early voting coming to a close, a political analyst says voter turnout is low compared to last year's runoff.
In-person early voting has now concluded, although mail in/absentee ballots will still be accepted throughout next week.
With a runoff ballot which include the US Senate race, two Congressional races, the Mayor-President of East Baton Rouge Parish, and assorted local races/tax propositions, early voting numbers are down from 2015, says political analyst John Couvillon, of JMC Enterprises.
Runoff early voting was 67% less than it was after seven days of primary early voting, and 33% less than it was for the 2015 statewide runoffs.
Numerically, that is 171,033 early voters as of the night of December 3, when early voting ended, compared to 257,021 in the 2015 runoffs and 515,181 for the Presidential election.
According to Couvillon, the last time early voting turnout was this low was during the 2011 statewide elections, which had a 37% voter turnout.
The top three early voting parishes, as of December 3, were East Baton Rouge with 22,072, Orleans with 14,790, and St. Tammany with 13,817.
In East Baton Rouge Parish, early voting saw an over 50% decrease compared to the primary election, with a majority Democrat turnout. 22,072 early voted in EBR, with 53% Democrat and 35% Republican, compared to 47,064 early voters in the primary election.
In addition to the low turnout, Democrats were a smaller portion of the early voting electorate than in the primary, although they did have a late surge over the last two days of early voting. According to Couvillion, republicans were a large portion of early voters than in previous election cycles with 46% Democrat and 42% Republican, a difference from the 45% and 39% in the primaries respectively.
Unlike the Senate race and Congressional runoffs, Democrats have been successful in EBR with turning out their votes so far, which benefits Democrat Sharon Weston Broome, as opposed to Republican Bodi White, Couvillon says. In the primary election, Democratic candidates received 48% of the vote, compared to 44% of the Republican candidates.
The racial composition of early voters was 74% white and 24% black, which was fairly close to the primary figures of 68% white and 27% black.
JMC projects the turnout to be 22-35% in the runoff, compared to 68% in the primary. Numerically, that is 678,000 to a little over a million votes, as drop from the 2.05 million voters in the primary.
The raw early voting statistics - statewide, according to the Secretary of State's office:
The runoff election is Saturday, December 6, with polls opening at 7 a.m. and closing at 8 p.m.